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China, Brazil Consider Publicity Blitz to Steer Climate Debate

China and Brazil are looking for ways to redirect a global climate debate, which they say unfairly accuses developing nations of delaying limits on fossil-fuel pollution.

China wants to blitz attendees at United Nations-led climate talks with pamphlets touting the clean-energy gains made by the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide. Brazil wants more recognition for slowing destruction of the planet’s biggest rainforest.

“We must work on how we sell ourselves better, how we sell our positions to the world,” Francisco Gaetani, Brazil’s deputy environment minister, said in a closed-door meeting attended by Bloomberg News in Delhi today with counterparts from China, India and South Africa.

The four nations, who collectively refer to themselves as the BASIC negotiating group, should draft short position papers and distribute them “as a promotion campaign” at year-end talks in Peru in December and in Paris next year, said Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission.

A two-decade divide between richer and poorer nations has hampered United Nations-led negotiations to draft an agreement to fight global warming. Developing countries argue that their wealthier counterparts should lead the way because they are responsible for the bulk of historical emissions. Richer nations want the less well-to-do ones, whose pollution is rising the fastest, to take a bigger role in cutting back fossil fuel emissions.

BASIC Agenda

The countries at the BASIC meeting say they’re beating rich nations in efforts to mitigate climate change.

China’s state subsidies have made it the world leader in solar- and wind-power installations, and the country has some of the toughest energy-efficiency standards for buildings and transportation. Brazil’s work to limit deforestation in the Amazon River region meant it was able to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from 2005 to 2010 by more than any developed country.

“We need to tell what has been done by us and what difficulties we’ve overcome,” Xie said, asking his counterparts to instruct their lead negotiators to “send signals to the international community” when attending global talks.

The goal is for more than 192 member-states to sign a pact in Paris by the end of 2015 to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the only global treaty on emissions restrictions.

“The lack of ambition of developed countries in the pre-2020 period should not lead to transferring of responsibilities to developing countries in the post-2020 period,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s lead climate negotiator, told his counterparts.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.

Lead image: Climate Change Interpretation via Shutterstock.

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